jueves, 30 de abril de 2009

Macieja: the FIDE General Assembly must decide

Source: ChessBase,com - Chess News 30.04.2009 – "Using the FIDE Laws of Chess terminology, the move has been made, and no takeback is any longer possible." Polish GM Bartlomiej Macieja is insisting that the decision to increase the K-factor in rating calculations is not just necessary and good in the current tournament situation, it is in fact irrevocable and can only be legally changed by the body that passed it. Open letter.

Reply to FIDE' reaction on the K-factor

By GM Bartlomiej Macieja

Dear Mr Leong Dear Mr Makropoulos

Thank you very much for your immediate answer.

I am fully aware that the Presidential Board is sometimes entitled not only to delay implementation, but even to take important decisions. I find it very reasonable, especially if they are controversial and they were not tabled in advance, thus came as a surprise for delegates. The same regards proposals which might have financial implications. I am also aware that sometimes the General Assembly cannot come to a common conclusion and gives the Presidential Board the right to decide. It is also a reasonable step, as it is much easier to discuss complicated problems in a smaller and better prepared group. For instance, during the General Assembly 2008, Mr Makropoulos proposed to postpone a decision regarding the problem of coming late for a game for the Presidential Board meeting. Nobody objected, his proposal was accepted.

The case of the K-factor is, however, completely different. It was widely discussed during the FIDE Congress 2008, first at the Titles and Ratings Committee meeting, then at the Qualification Commission meeting, eventually the proposal of change was approved by the General Assembly, with no single voice of objection (including no single voice of objection of any member of the Presidential Board). It means, that contrary to the problem of coming late for a game, the General Assembly decided to take the decision and not to postpone it for the Presidential Board meeting. As so and as the General Assembly is the highest authority of FIDE, the decision has to be followed now and only further General Assemblies are entitled to change it.

Well, I am even not mentioning that the recent FIDE announcement was not a conclusion of the Presidential Board meeting, but a result of "the ten-day working visit of Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos in Singapore with General Secretary Ignatius Leong". It is clearly not sufficient to challenge decisions taken by the General Assembly.

As I was present during the General Assembly 2008, I would like to stress, that contrary to the information included in your letter, the change of the value of the K-factor was not only written in a report of the Qualification Commission, but also orally announced by the chairman Mr Mikko Markkula. The chairman even added that he had made "all the calculations", they were on his computer, and everybody wishing so could see them at any moment. Thus, even all sugestions that the delegates could not be aware what they were accepting are baseless.

Concluding, using the FIDE Laws of Chess terminology, the move (the decision) has been made and no claim or takeback is any longer possible.

I fully agree that players should be much better informed about the reasons standing behind the increase of the K-factor. The main concept is that the higher frequency of publishing rating lists reduces the effective value of the K-factor, thus the value of the K-factor needs to be increased in order not to make significant changes in the whole rating system. With one rating list published yearly, as originally done by professor Elo, the K-factor equal 10 played its role. With six rating lists published yearly, the value of the K-factor needs to be increased. With the frequency of one rating list published every two years, the value of the K-factor would need to be decreased.

I have already done the job of publishing two articles on the ACP Website regarding the topic. They were also published on other commonly visited websites, so chess players could get known about the change and understand that it was not a political decision, but a statistical necessity. I sincerely hope FIDE can also join the efforts. Five months have already passed since the FIDE Congress in Dresden, fortunately two more months are still left before the 1st of July.

As you have correctly mentioned, ratings play a very important role nowadays. Based on them players are directly nominated for major FIDE events, also for national championships, they are invited (or not) for various tournaments with different conditions. And that is exactly why it is so important to have a proper rating system. This time, after a week of work, FIDE has clearly made the right move.

Best regards Bartlomiej Macieja 30th of April 2008


Source: Association of Chess Professionals Articles

GM Bartlomiej Macieja comments on the recent FIDE announcement regarding the K-factor

ACP Board [Tue Apr 28th, 06:47]

Comments on the recent FIDE announcement regarding the K-factor

The recent FIDE announcement regarding the K-factor came to me as a huge surprise. First of all, during the FIDE Congress in Dresden, the General Assembly decided to increase the value of the K-factor to K=20 (K=30 for players who have never reached 2400). The decision cannot be now challenged neither by the Deputy President nor by the General Secretary, even if the action is approved by the FIDE President, as according to the Article 4.1 of the FIDE Statutes, the General Assembly, being the highest authority of FIDE, exercises the legislative power. Moreover, the increase of the value of the K-factor has been recommended for already many years as a necessary correction to the system. For example, a statistician Jeff Sonas proposed K=24 already in 2002. With 4 rating lists published per year, the increase of the value of the K-factor is essential, as I have proved in my report of and the extended notes on the FIDE Congress 2008. With 6 rating lists published per year, the necessity of the increase is not under any question. Even so conservative FIDE Titles and Ratings Regulations Committee mentioned in Dresden K=25. The Qualification Commission decreased the value to K=20 and passed it through the General Assembly, without any objection. The higher value of the K-factor will make changes of rating quicker, but the effect is far exaggerated by many people. Only for young and very old players (or, to be more precise, for fast improving and fast regressing players) will the change have a serious effect - their ratings will closer correspond to their present level. But, is it bad? For the majority of players, the difference will not be significant in the long term, only fluctuations will increase. Thus, players hoping to easily exceed 2800 may get disappointed - they will still need to increase their level. ;-) The reasons of delay provided by Mr Makropoulos and Mr Leong are far not convincing. Instead of waiting for a year or two in order to show consequences of the change of the value of the K-factor, it is much better and faster to calculate results from last two or even five years using the new value of the K-factor. As tournament reports are in electronic format, it is almost as easy for FIDE to recalculate everything as one click. To judge how serious the argument with organisers and invitations sent in advance is, let's look at tennis. The basic rule of the ATP Ranking System is that players lose ranking points gained more than a year earlier. It means that the organisers encounter much bigger problems than in chess, because an invited leader of the ATP ranking list may be even almost unrated the following year, which is not the case in chess. However, the practice shows that it doesn't effect tennis tournaments, which are organised smoothly. Taking into account the formal reason (decisions taken by GA cannot be challenged) and also that an increase of the K-factor is absolutely neccessary from the statistical point of view, I call the Deputy President and the General Secretary of FIDE to withdraw their announcement and to follow the decision of the GA. Best regards Bartlomiej Macieja 28th of April 2009

Rating Regulations - The K-Factor

Friday, 24 April 2009 09:58
Following the publication of the new Rating Regulations which will come into effect from 1 July 2009, concerns have been raised by several players and organisers. During the 10-day working visit of Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos in Singapore with General Secretary Ignatius Leong, the following points were noted and recommended: 1. That especially for major high-level competitions, organisers normally would have an invitation list of players based on their ratings at the time of consideration and invitation. Organisers normally would have a contract with the invited players sometimes as long as one year in advance. Some players would have agreed to participate based on the ratings of the other invited players. The dynamic K=20 factor could have a major effect on the ratings of the invited players one year later. 2. The rating lists are used to seed players for the world championship cycle -Candidates Tournament, World Cup etc... The radical change in the K-factor is a major concern especially among the top players. It was regretted that parallel lists were not calculated before the decision to adopt the new K-factors. 3. The radical change in the K-factor for players rated under 2400 is also a serious concern as this could lead to an inflation for norm categories and title purposes. The potential inflation among players under 2400 will also cause a ripple effect as more players move upwards and cross the level of 2400. A study and review on the title regulations would be necessary as a result of the new K-factor - the rating scales may have to be increased. 4. Qualification Commission Chairman & FIDE Rating Administrator Mikko Markkula will produce a parallel list which uses the new K-factors (30 & 20) for tournament reports submitted from the rating lists starting 1 April 2008 till 1 July 2009. FIDE will publish 2 lists for 1 July 2009 - the normal list based on the K-factors being unchanged (25, 15 & 10) and a parallel list (known as the K-List) using the K-factors (30 & 20). The K-List will not be used but only as a comparison. 5. Until 1 July 2010, FIDE shall continue to publish 2 lists using the different K-factors. FIDE shall then review the 2 lists after 1 July 2010 - based on the recommendations of the Qualification Commission. FIDE would then decide whether to extend the trials, abort or to adopt the new K-factors with effect from 1 July 2011 as The Rating List.

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